Reduced resilience as an early warning signal of forest mortality


Journal Article

© 2019, The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Nature Limited. Climate-induced forest mortality is being widely observed across the globe. Predicting forest mortality remains challenging because the physiological mechanisms causing mortality are not fully understood and empirical relations between climatology and mortality are subject to change. Here, we show that the temporal loss of resilience, a phenomenon often detected as a system approaches a tipping point, can be used as an early warning signal (EWS) to predict the likelihood of forest mortality directly from remotely sensed vegetation dynamics. We tested the proposed approach on data from Californian forests and found that the EWS can often be detected before reduced greenness, between 6 to 19 months before mortality. The EWS shows a species-specific relation with mortality, and is able to capture its spatio-temporal variations. These findings highlight the potential for such an EWS to predict forest mortality in the near-term.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Liu, Y; Kumar, M; Katul, GG; Porporato, A

Published Date

  • November 1, 2019

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 9 / 11

Start / End Page

  • 880 - 885

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1758-6798

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 1758-678X

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1038/s41558-019-0583-9

Citation Source

  • Scopus